STILLWATER — Few people on the planet could be appropriately introduced with music by Aaron Carter and Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Or get away with calling Oklahoma State students Oklahoma Sooners — twice.
Or reminisce about dunking on Cowboy basketball coach Travis Ford.
Shaquille O'Neal is one of those characters.
The former NBA superstar and entertainer extraordinaire visited Gallagher-Iba Arena Tuesday night for a panel discussion hosted by OSU's Student Government Association that featured questions from Ford, former Cowboy guard Keiton Page and a number of students. Along the way, a dance-off also broke out.
Here are some highlights from the hourlong session.
What is the biggest lesson you learned in the NBA?
The biggest lesson I learned in the NBA was how to become a leader. A lot of people like to talk about the drama that Kobe (Bryant) and I (had). But on the outside looking in, you wouldn't understand that I was in a CEO position and I had to push one of my employees very hard. … The true definition of a great player is how you make the players around you better. When he first came in, he was really raw, but I stayed on him a lot and kept pushing him (and) pushing him, and he pushed me. I think that's why we were the best 1-2 duo ever created.
What do you hold in higher regard: your NBA MVP in 2000 or your first rap album going platinum or your MBA?
What about Kazaam? You know, it's crazy, I've got more Kazaam fans here than anywhere in the world. Probably my biggest award is the one I'll receive this May 5. I'm receiving my Ph.D. from Barry University. That's probably the biggest one.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for an aspiring young athlete?
My biggest piece of advice is to — whatever your goal may be — just put it in your head, write it down on a piece of paper and try to achieve it. … At least 75 percent of (NBA players) are here because of hard work, and the rest are here because of talent. So if you just work hard, put your mind to it, you can make it.
What are the three things on top of your bucket list?
Going to London would be one, to buy a professional team would be two and just to remain sexy would be No. 3.
Of all the talent you played with in the NBA, who was your favorite to play with on the court?
I had a lot of favorites. Penny Hardaway was a real great player. Kobe was a good player. D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) was a good player. I was fortunate to be able to play with three of the best guards to ever play the game.
What do you think about the Oklahoma City Thunder?
They're a very talented team. They shoot the ball very well. They play with a lot of energy. If you can continue to shoot like that, especially in the playoffs, the sky is the limit for them. I just think they're younger, more energetic. Most of the top teams besides Miami and Chicago, they're pretty up there in age, at least their top players.
When you were in college, how did you balance your school, your sport and your social life?
Education. Craft (basketball). Fraternity. E-C-F.